RAND Research on Racial Equity

Against the backdrop of a pandemic that was already inflicting disproportionate physical and economic pain on communities of color, the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked an urgent and overdue reckoning with America's long history of systemic inequity and structural racism.

Evidence shows persistent racial inequities in the settings that define our daily lives—the neighborhood, the hospital, the classroom. And of course, disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system are pervasive.

Policy shapes each of these environments. That means RAND has a role to play in making things better. And we have an obligation to turn our commitment to racial equity into action.

In a statement issued shortly after Floyd's death, our president and CEO Michael D. Rich pledged that RAND will indeed do its part:

Everyone must do more to eliminate racial inequities. At RAND, we will contribute by continuously strengthening our research and analysis on health, education, justice, security, and well-being. We must examine where these areas intersect, listen more to voices that are too often underrepresented, and integrate the historical and structural contexts in which policies have been developed and applied. Anything less would impede our mission to help improve public policy and decisionmaking.”

But we know that good intentions aren't enough. That's why we're launching a new research center dedicated to dismantling systemic inequity and informing public policies that advance equity throughout society. In the meantime, we're highlighting a small sample of RAND research that addresses this challenge from a variety of angles.

Health and Well-Being

  • A depressed woman being comforted by her friend


    Survey of Californians' Mental Health Finds Disparities

    May 1, 2018

    Tracking mental health indicators tells decisionmakers about changing population needs and how well policies and services designed to prevent and treat mental health conditions are working. According to data from 2011 to 2013, California could benefit from focusing on improving outcomes for women, Latino and black residents, and young adults.


Policing and Criminal Justice

  • Facial recognition on a mobile device, image by Irina Shi/Adobe Stock


    The Benefits and Risks of Face Recognition Technology

    May 14, 2020

    Face recognition technologies (FRTs) offer opportunities to improve identification efforts, but they also raise concerns about privacy and bias. Understanding the trade-offs between the utility and risks of FRTs is crucial for evaluating their adoption and implementation.

Economic Opportunity

  • People stand in line at Harlem's Community Kitchen and Food Pantry in New York City, May 9, 2020, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters


    How Are Americans Paying Their Bills During the Pandemic?

    Jun 3, 2020

    About one-third of U.S. households have experienced a decline in income as a result of COVID-19. Roughly 30 percent are having difficulties paying their bills, with these problems highly concentrated among low-income households, as well as black and Hispanic households.

Featured Publications

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